Flashback more than a few years to the days when this pilot fish works for a big computer maker -- one that actually manufactures big computers.
"I was working in a small team that provided support to keep some production-line equipment running," says fish. "This equipment wrote the tracks on blank disks that were used to build disk drives."
One day fish gets word from his boss -- and a lot of other managers -- that the number of disk drives the facility is producing has dropped, and the problem is a lack of written disks coming off the equipment fish is supporting.
Fish's task: Climb into a bunny suit (something fish dislikes doing almost as much as the bosses do) and investigate the problem.
So fish dons his clean-room garb, enters the production area and finds the machine in question.
It's easy to spot: It's the one whose operator is just sitting in his chair, doing nothing.
How are things going? fish asks.
The reply: "The machine is no good. It's broken."
Fish: Did you tell anyone?
"It turns out the machine had been broken for one or two days," fish says. "The operator never told anyone so he could get a break from work.
"Soon after, we installed 'tattle-tale' lights on the machinery, with red, yellow and green lights to allow someone to see if the machine was broken, causing errors or running fine."
SPECIAL NOTE FROM SHARKY: Sharky is packing up for his move to Computerworld's new website. That's thousands of true tales that will show up on the new site next Tuesday, and tens of thousands of comments that...OK, may not all appear instantly when the site goes live. It's an IT project. You know the drill.
Don't panic -- all the comments will make it to the new site eventually. The transition just won't happen all at once.
So watch for the new Computerworld site, coming on Tuesday, Aug. 19. And in the meantime...
Keep Sharky running at full capacity. Send me your true tale of IT life at firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.
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